COD: Black Ops Annihilation Map Pack

10 Overall Score

Written by on July 1, 2011 in

 

Ready your guns and zombie repellent folks. The third Black Ops map pack has arrived. Out this week for Call of Duty: Black Ops exclusively first on the Xbox 360 is the latest map pack, titled the Annihilation Map Pack. Included in the Annihilation map pack are 4 new online multiplayer levels; Hazard, Silo, Hangar 18, and Drive-In. Also included is a new zombie map being set in, and titled, Shangri-La.

Hazard: Hazard is a map perfectly designed for snipers, which is why I hate playing it online. If you have played Call of Duty: World at War you might recognize Hazard as being a reimagination of the map, Cliffside. Set on a golf course, Hazard is a long rectangular map with paths going along the perimeter. You can run straight up the middle of the golf hole, taking cover in sandtraps, but you will be prone to sniper fire. The smart choice would be to travel with a short range weapon through the many shacks and small buildings. If sniping is more your style, you can hide in one of the many rocky alcoves, bunker down on the cliffs on the far side of the golf course, or sit atop the action in a fountain. I love the feel of this level, but am terrified to go running up or across the middle for fear of being sniped. Hazard is best suited for 6-18 players and goes well with Domination, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag game modes.

Silo: Silo is the most confusing map to navigate in the Annihilation pack. The first time I played on Silo was during a Team Deathmatch game that took nearly the entire amount of time allotted. This map is huge and I spent three-fourths of my time trying to run to the action rather than doing any actual shooting. To do well on this map, your run-and-gun skills need to be well-trained or else you will find yourself respawning repetitively. One side of the map is on higher ground and is a perfect vantage point for sniping and long range gunfights. The lower side of the map is riddled with silos, tunnels, debris, cars, and machinery which provide dozens of hiding places. This side of the map is truly a maze and it took me several times playing it to figure out which path goes where. There are a lot of perches and places to snipe people with, and I have noticed that most people gravitate towards the lower part of the level, running in and out of pipes or climbing up to the top of the nuclear missile silo in the back corner. (This perch makes for a great place for a Sentry turret or sniper.) Silo is best suited for large team objective games like Headquarters, Domination, and Capture the Flag.

Hangar 18: This level takes place at, you guessed it, a hangar. Hangar 18 is a medium sized map that comes with a lot of aesthetic pleasantries including a Blackbird, alien autopsies, and a mysterious floating apple. Players spawn on opposite sides of the hangar, coming together either on the perimeter, on the catwalks above the hangar, or atop the Blackbird itself. This map lends itself to both short range and long range weapons giving players the chance to hide out in the hangar or snipe from one of the perches on the corner of the map. I found this to be a very good map to sneak around on because there are several ways to get to each side of the map unnoticed. There are plenty of buildings other than the hangar to hide in, but most of the action will take place in the hanger itself and around the Blackbird. In fact, most of the people I killed on my first playthrough were lying down on top of the Blackbird, which I found to be a terrible strategy when I tried it myself. Hanger 18 is suited best for 6-18 players and works with all game types.

Drive-In: Set in a long-abandoned drive-in movie theater, Drive-In is a circular map with snack bars, arcades, and restaurants lining the outer ring, while a large projection screen offers a high vantage point over the middle of the action. This is the smallest map in the map pack and players who like to run-and-gun will find this map to be their bread and butter. The middle of the map is an empty dirt lot littered with cars and movie audio boxes, and it is easy to get picked off while running out into this open area. Overlooking this dirt lot are many multistory structures that makes perfect sniping perches. The projector room is a great place to hunker down if you want to pick people off as they run out into the open, or if you want to get rid of the snipers at the projection screen. I really liked the feel of this map and to see the cartoon food items on the screen really took me back. I half expected to hear “Let’s all go to the lobby” coming through my headset. Drive-In is a perfect map for Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Free-for-All games.

Shangri-La: Shangri-La is the hardest zombie mode map I have ever played. You start out in a small area surrounded by damaged walls, infected monkeys, and lush greenery. As you open more areas you will come upon traps such as spikes, sandpits, and various other deadly traps that not only harm the zombies, but have the potential to incapacitate you as well. One of the things that makes this map so difficult is that the zombies are literally pouring out of every wall, opening, or door. I remember running into a cave as zombies wriggled their way through the dirt ceiling. What happened to the good ol’ days where all zombies did was shamble? One of the new zombie types introduced in Shangri-La is the “Shrieker”, a zombie which yells deafening sounds sure to make you cringe. These zombies are tough and shouldn’t be tackled alone unless you are packing some serious firepower. Another thing to worry about are the infernal monkeys which steal your perks and power-ups if you don’t pick them up quick enough. This can be a real hassle when you are overrun by zombies and can’t make it to a perk when it is dropped by a zombie. What’s worse is you can actually hear the monkeys coming to take your perks and the way they screech as they steal your hard earned perks is demeaning. Another new addition is a gun called the 3179 JGB215. This gun shrinks any zombie down to a child-like size, allowing you to kick them to death. This adds a hilarious twist to the game play and it always spawns jealousy from the other players who don’t get to use the gun.

Playing solo I made it 8 rounds in before dying, which I was unable to repeat again. This map is fast paced and you have to keep moving if you want to survive. It is a lot easier to camp in one area if you have 3 other teammates, but alone this map is a real challenge. The achievements in the game are easy to get if you are playing with people who know what they are doing. I received the “Blinded by the Fright” achievement, which involves killing a Shrieker while blinded, without even realizing it. The other achievements revolve around collecting items or killing a certain type of zombie, making these achievements easy to receive even while playing solo.

The Annihilation map pack is definitely worth the $15 price tag and is my favorite map pack in the Call of Duty: Black Ops series so far. These maps all play differently depending on your playstyle and will keep you busy checking your six, watching for that pesky sniper, and battling the infected throngs of zombies of Shangri-La. Treyarch has really outdone themselves and I look forward to seeing what comes out in their next map pack.

A download code for the Annihilation map pack was provided to The Married Gamers for evaluation and review.

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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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